In our latest coffee break blog, head of people and development - Anna Fell, discusses how Echo has embedded its new vision, mission and values since their launch last year.
I can’t quite believe that just over a year has passed since I last sat down to write a blog about the launch of Echo’s vision, mission and values. A lot has happened since then, and I thought it was about time to put pen to paper again to share how our vision, mission and values have been embedded and the benefits this has bought to Echo, its employees and its clients.
In my last blog, I discussed how important it was for us to truly embed our vision, mission and values and not just launch them with a big fanfare and some fancy artwork on the wall. It couldn’t be “just another management fad” here today and gone tomorrow. It had to drive Echo’s strategy, direction and growth, now and in the future.
And as I reflect on the last year, it’s great to be able to share some of the changes and initiatives we have put in place and how these are helping to pull our sites together as “One Echo”, protect our culture as we continue to grow and align our whole business behind a single strategy.
One Echo, One Direction
One of the first steps has been to create a new balanced scorecard aligned to the vision, mission and values. The scorecard enables us to set, track and achieve our strategy and objectives. With four quadrants – finance, growth, customer and people, the balanced scorecard is importantly linked to our “one team one reward” incentive. This not only helps employees to see clearly how their own targets and objectives link into and affect the wider business plan, it also ensures that rewards are consistently and clearly aligned to Echo’s overall strategy.
Talk and Engage
Recognising that employee communications and engagement would be a critical success factor in our “one team” journey, at last year’s launch of the vision, mission and values we presented a range of new communication channels designed to keep employees updated, share experiences, encourage feedback and build on Echo’s fantastic culture.
A year on, I am happy to report that we’ve made some really positive steps in improving employee communications and the channels and publications we have introduced have really started to join our six sites together as “One Echo”.
Team Talk, for example, is a bi-monthly cascade briefing that encourages face to face communication between managers and their teams. It enables a core business update to be delivered consistently across all sites whilst helping communications and relationships within teams to flourish.
Another new addition has been our company newsletter, the name of which was chosen through employee suggestions. The ‘Echo Express’ is dedicated 100% to our people, showcasing their great stories that bring the Echo values to life, giving examples of employee promotion and cross-site development opportunities and sharing news and site events.
Living by our Values
Knowing and understanding what we value is one thing, but what is equally important is that employees at all levels of the company behave in a way that truly reflects our core values. That’s why we are just about to launch our new Leadership Behaviours Framework. As with the creation of our values, this wasn’t something the Senior Management Team developed in a dark room in isolation; it is a framework that employees, through site workshops, have influenced and helped to develop.
The framework outlines the attitudes and approach we will take to our work and identifies the key behaviours that will support the delivery of our business plan, values and culture. It will help and guide us all in truly living and breathing our values in our daily work.
So, is it working?
It’s one thing for me, the management team and even employees to sit here and say that the values are now embedded and the whole organisation has pulled together as “One Echo”. Yes, that’s what we see and what we feel, but to be completely confident that this is the case, external validation can add a valuable extra level of reassurance.
Therefore, when in March we had our three year Investors In People Assessment, we were really interested to find out what the Assessor saw, thought and felt about our progress. Not only were we pleased to maintain our accreditation as an Investors in People organisation, we were also delighted that the Assessor commented positively on the launch and embedding process of the vision, mission and values, giving us that external validation that we are moving in the right direction.
“You have developed a very clear Vision and Mission for the organisation and people confirmed that this had been effectively communicated through presentations, magazines, staff handbooks and display material around offices and work areas. It's a different place than when I visited 3 years ago, employees feel more connected with the wider organisation.”
Betty Bullock, Investors In People Practitioner
So, what’s next?
Whilst I am really pleased with our progress, I also recognise that this is not the end of our journey and that we still have more to do in order to embed the vision, mission and values deeper into our culture.
This means that the new Leadership Behaviours Framework must become reflected in our people processes from recruitment through to performance management, talent development and reward and recognition. Yes, technical capability to effectively carry out a role must of course continue to be an essential part of these processes. But it must also become about behaviours too and whether employees demonstrate our desired behaviours to the expected standard – truly living by our values.
And finally, we will continue to build on our internal communication strategy and the channels we have put in place. It’s important to remember that the most effective internal communications rely on employee involvement, and we’ll be working hard in the coming months to engage employees at all our sites to get involved with communications and build a programme that we all feel part of and proud of.
We’ve come a long way in the last twelve months, and I’m really excited about the year ahead and the next steps on our “one team” journey.
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